[Adelaide, A.W. Dobbie, circa 1899].
The stereophotographs (individually mounted on card, 88 × 178 mm, with detailed printed captions mounted either recto or verso) are in fine condition, in the original two-part container (now a little worn); a recent transcript of the printed introduction to the series, dated 1906, is included.
Alexander Williamson Dobbie (1843-1912), an Adelaide brassfounder, merchant, inventor and photographer - and incidentally, an early director of BHP - undertook the adventurous trip between June and August 1899. His introductory notes include some sharp commentary on local practices, and some of the printed captions leave nothing to the imagination either. The only other set of these photographs we have seen contained 42 cards, with 41 of them common to both sets. The presence of these photographs in Douglas Mawson's collection is no accident. After he graduated in engineering in 1902, 'he took six months leave to make a geological survey of the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) ... This was Mawson's introduction to scientific exploration, carried out in rugged country with dense jungle and among hostile inhabitants. His report, "The geology of the New Hebrides", was one of the first major works on the geology of Melanesia. He returned to further studies in geology in 1904' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography'). Provenance: Sir Douglas Mawson; by descent.